This past Tuesday, Denny’s (for the second straight year) gave away their “Original Grand Slam Breakfast” (two pancakes, two eggs, two sausage links, and two bacon strips) for free, a promotion they’ve advertised during the Superbowl the past two years. Here’s this year’s spot:
Last year’s promotion left many diners hungry as the overwhelming turnout caused Denny’s restaurants all over the country to run out of eggs; which was probably (at least in part) inspiration for this years superbowl commercials. The real failure of this campaign, however, wasn’t the lack of eggs, but rather the lack of anything to keep customers coming back.
The promotion was said to be part of a re-branding effort as the decor and menu itself had been updated. While this may work for most restaurants, the problem is, Denny’s is not most restaurants. Breakfast joints simply don’t follow the same rules. Not to mention people who eat at a Denny’s aren’t looking for a fine dining experience, and generally aren’t interested in what new idea you have for a burger during breakfast…especially a free one.
This year, Denny’s seems to have gotten it right. They’ve taken the promotion, thought carefully about the audience they’re reaching out to, and decided to throw in 5 (yes FIVE) additional promotions that directly appeal to the over 2 million customers who showed up for their free meal this year.
- Endless Pancakes and Fries – For a limited time, any order of pancakes or fries comes with Free unlimited refills…OH BOY!
- Free Grand Slam on your Birthday – Does that mean you get 2 free breakfasts if your birthday is on February 9th?
- Grand Slam for a Year Drawing – 52 people will win a free grand slam breakfast every week for a year!
- Denny’s rewards program – Earn free meals the more you use your membership.
- Free Burger and Fries for signing up – If you were one of the first half million to sign up for the rewards program, you automatically receive a free Burger and Fries!
Just one of these five promotions would probably have been enough to get my praise, but to have all five just goes to show that the marketing folks at Denny’s had their thinking caps on this year.
As a promotional products company, we certainly understand the power of attraction that freebies can have, but to harness that power and turn it into qualified customers isn’t always easy. Not only will this promotion do just that, but with the drawing and rewards programs, they’ve afforded themselves further direct marketing opportunities through the collection of contact information.
Smart, Denny’s…VERY Smart.
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